The Southridge Storm couldn’t quite repeat as champions of their own tournament last weekend.
The senior boys basketball squad lost Saturday to Panorama Ridge, 86-66 in the finals of the Southridge School-hosted Big Storm senior boys hoops event, an event they won in 2011.
In the title tilt, Panorama jumped out to an early lead, and held a 10-point advantage after the first quarter, though Southridge battled back in the second frame, and trailed by just a single point at halftime.
In the last half, however, Panorama pulled away from the host team, due in part to the Storm’s inability to make good on free-throw opportunities; they were just 17-for-42 from the charity stripe.
Storm’s Justin Bhuttar, who was named to the tournament all-star team, led the home side with 21 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals, while Sam Chan – also named an all-star – had a 17-point, five-rebound performance. Hunter Hughes also finished in double digits, scoring 11 points.
Courtenay’s G.P. Vanier Towhees placed third in the eight-team tournament, defeating Surrey’s Frank Hurt Hornets in the bronze-medal affair.
Despite failing to repeat as champions of their own tournament, the early stages of the season have been a successful one for the Storm, who entered into the Big Storm tourney coming off a 72-47 win over Langley’s R.E. Mountain Secondary in double-A league action.
“We’re a young team, but I think we’re a talented team,” Southridge coach Steve Anderson said last week.
Southridge has also played this season without the services of Grade 12 captain Ryan Chang, who has been sidelined with an injury.
“We’ve had some injuries – not a great way to start the year. Ryan hasn’t played a game for us, but he’ll change our team dramatically when he gets back in there,” Anderson said.
What the handful of injuries has done, the coach said, is pushed younger players into bigger roles, which he hopes pays dividends later in the year.
“It can only help you, when you get into games in January and February,” Anderson said.
Girls make list
Southridge Storm’s senior girls have had a successful month, too.
Last week, the team appeared in the provincial double-A Top10 rankings for the first time in school history.
In the most recent rankings, which the BC Secondary Schools’ Girls Basketball Association released Dec. 12, the Storm ranked No. 10.
“It’s always nice to be recognized,” said Southridge coach Paul Chiarenza in a release posted on the school’s website. “But it’s still early, and we are hoping to continue to improve.”
Through the first three weeks of the season, the Storm had a 9-1 record, with the team’s only loss coming to No. 4-ranked Saint Mary’s University School (Victoria).